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Who is that Yank, anyway?

Born in New Jersey, and raised in Ohio, I never expected to be an expat, traveling around the world, living in, and visiting, exotic locales. But that is who I became!

I was born in Camden New Jersey on September 28, 1942; parents were Edward Hunt Mount and Carolyn Reid Johnes Mount. I have two younger brothers: William Edward ("Bill" or "Butch") and Kenneth Hunt ("Ken").

I spent the first three years of my life in Wilmington, Delaware, while my father built subchasers for the Navy. I really don't remember much about Wilmington - except a very vivid mental picture of a stairway and a room in the house where we lived.

After the war, we moved to Wellston, Jackson County, OH, where my Father had gotten a job as chief engineer with a steel manufacturing company. I grew up and attended school (Central Grade, Wellston Junior and Wellston Senior High Schools) in this small town that had a history as a tough coal mining town before the seams ran out.

I attended college at the opposite corner of the state - at Bowling Green State University, where I met my husband, Charles. We both graduated with BS degrees in Biology (his was in Secondary Education; mine was not) in 1964, got married in June, and headed west for our first stint in graduate school.

At the University of Southern California I worked towards a MS in Biology, studying the ecology of zooplankton (specifically Tintinnoinea) in the Santa Catalina Basin, while Charles studied seagull behavior. We had a Corvair mini-van which we packed with all our worldly possessions, a pup tent and two sleeping bags, and we camped across the US. While at USC, we both taught in the biology department and worked in the L.A. Country Museum of Natural History bird and mammal range. We saw a lot of Southern California and some of Mexico on various biology field trips; and made some lasting friendships with some fellow students. We also acquired a parking lot cat (Runt) who presented us with another (Flicka) before we headed back to Florida via Ohio; both rode in the back of the van to Ohio, where they stayed with Charles' Mother until we could find a place in Gainesville that would take pets. These two cats would form the beginning of a long chain of cats that have since graced our household.

At The University of Florida (Ph.D. in Zoology, ecology of nanoplankton in Florida lakes, 1971), we saw a completely different "culture" from that of Southern California - this was our first experience with the South, and we loved it. We traveled as much as we could throughout Florida, Mississpippi, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee; Charles spent three months in Mexico and Guatemala as assistant to a professor who was doing research on black widow spiders and Durango scorpions; and several weeks in Costa Rica as an assistant to my major professor, studying water quality at a field station run by Archie Carr, the sea turtle specialist. His Spanish is fluent when it comes to ordering breakfast, and asking if anyone has seen spiders or scorpions in the neighborhood!

By the time we finished graduate school we had seen almost 75% of the country, and developed a taste for international travel!

It was time to find work - but the job market was very tight in 1971, so both Charles and I worked part-time, teaching at the University while we job-searched. He finally landed a job in 1972 as terrestrial ecologist in the environmental program with a privately owned engineering/construction firm in San Francisco. We let the company pack up all our belongings, we dropped our cats off with Charles' Mother again (there were three this time, since Freshie had been born in Florida), and we drove back to California, arriving on July 4, 1972. We found a house in Walnut Creek (which we still own) and had the cats sent to us. Six months later, I got hired in the same department.

Twelve and one half years later, I burned out - and left the company. Three months later, I had a job as a substitute for an ill instructor at Diablo Valley Community College (and as a part-time instructor at Contra Costa Community College as well). I taught as a substitute and a part-time employee for three years.

In 1988, Charles was transferred to Houston, TX, so I followed, reluctantly because I could see a future in teaching at the community college in CA. However, once there, I found full-time employment in the Houston Community College system - and started reviewing professionally for "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine" (I wrote a column called "Booked and Printed" for four years). It was in Houston that I also became an associate member of the Mystery Writers of America (since lapsed) and a member of the Awards Committee for the Agatha Awards (for five years), given out annually by the Malice Domestic Mystery Convention. These mystery related "jobs" are what started me in my book-mania (and its resultant clutter, since I couldn't read fast enough to keep up with the free books) - I was receiving 12 books a day for reviewing and awards purposes. I got to be on first name basis with my postman and with the UPS man!

In 1992, Charles was transferred again - this time to London. I did not resist this transfer - although it meant I would now be unemployed (both from teaching and reviewing. Instead, I determined to become a "professional tourist"! While in England, we tried to see as much of England, Wales and Scotland as we could (we both fell in love with the Celtic regions: Cornwall, Wales and Scotland - especially the Highlands), and also fit in a few vacations on the continent (Budapest; The Hague and Amsterdam - bought lots of lovely tulips; Luxembourg; Dusseldorf - where we have friends) and in Africa (a cruise down the Nile one Christmas and a weekend in Marrakech). In London, I joined the Crime Writers Association, where I met lots of marvelous authors, and continued attending mystery conventions. It was in London that I acquired my liking for the British police procedural!

In 1996, Charles was made Country Manager of China, and we moved to Beijing. Again, I was apprehensive, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. We saw as many of the sights as we could, including many not seen on the usual tourist itinerary - and traveled to Xi'an, Shanghai, Shenzen, Hong Kong, Singapore, Phuket (Thailand) and Perth (Australia) while we were there. We were in China for the "Handover" of Hong Kong, which was quite an exciting thing to see.

A company reorganization in 1998 resulted in another transfer, this time to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia - to the Jubail Industrial City program. Saudi Arabia was not the highlight of my life - but it was a great jumping-off point to see places in Africa and Europe that we missed last time around: from there I traveled to Syria, Bangkok, Bahrain, and back to London, Wales and, in 2002, China.

We lived from day to day in this job - never knowing when a transfer would come, so we tried to make the most of it, seeing as much as we could (and, in Charles' case, trying to enrich the economies of third world nations by buying as much as he could!). We can honestly say "We have seen the world, and it is good!"

In April of 2002, Charlie received a diagnosis of prostate cancer while on home leave, so in that summer, we returned to the US for treatment (major surgery, followed by a bout of radiation therapy a year later). We are optimistic about his prospects (his PSA counts were undetectable for five years but are now climbing again), but he decided that it was time to slow down and enjoy life for a while without the pressures of work. So, after more than 10 months living in the inlaws' guest room, Charlie started procedures for early retirement and we bought a house in NW Ohio. We are now in the process of unpacking our household effects (yes, still unpacking after 7 years! Sad, eh?), which had ballooned to a massive 30,000 pounds-plus over the ten years of being overseas.

If I'm going to be honest about myself - I am too sedentary (my hobbies being reading and needlework), completely out of shape. I keep resolving to get fit - but I have lots of excuses to keep putting it off (only some of which are actually valid).

Another resolution was to get myself organized (the books were taking over, as were the quilting resources!), and I did that by particpating the the iVillage Get Organized Challenge. I'm not there, yet, but I'm working on it.

Joni and Carol.jpg

Who is "That Yank"? I'm the one on the right; that is my ex-sister-in-law Joni on the left. My name is Carol (Lynn Mount) Harper.

Here are a few of my favorite things:

My favorite places are any place where you can see the sea and the mountains at the same time; preferably it is also warm and dry with a fragrant hint of the sea on the breeze; any place with a good mystery bookstore, a rubber stamping store and a needlework supply shop; and most of all, any place where my friends and family are.

Musical Note 1

My favorite music is: "Land of My Fathers" (in Welsh, as sung by a Welsh Male Voice Choir and/or by Bryn Terfel); "On My Own" and "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables"; and "Come to Me, Bend to Me" from the Broadway version of "Brigadoon"!

My favorite movies: "An Affair to Remember" (with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr); "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Sliding Doors" (both with John Hannah); "Hombre" (Paul Newman); "Tim" (Mel Gibson); "Dirty Dancing"; "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"; and "Apollo 13"!

My favorite kinds of books are mysteries, science fiction and non-fiction (humor, biography, history). My favorite books are: "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank; "Reflex" by Dick Francis; "Beyond the Blue Event Horizon" by Frederick Pohl; almost everything by C. J. Cherryh, Anne MCaffrey, Anne Perry, Bill Bryson, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Jill McGown, Reginald Hill, Peter Robinson... the list could go on and on!


My favorite poem is the one John Hannah reads at the funeral in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" - it was written by W. H. Auden; I'm told it's called "Funeral Blues"...

My favorite television is, not surprisingly, based on my love of mystery fiction. My favorite programs include, but are not limited to: "Law & Order" (all versions), "C.S.I" (all versions), "NCIS", "Castle", "The Mentalist", some Golden Oldies (like "Homicide: Life on the Streets"), and all the "Inspector Morse", "Dalziel & Pascoe", "Midsomer Murders", and "Foyle's War" episodes from British television.

Favorite food: lima beans and spinach (I can hear people gagging all over the Universe!); tomatoes and cucumbers; and potatoes cooked any way (including chips by Cain's, a local company which sadly is no more).


Come visit me at the following message boards at iVillage:

The Stitcher's Niche

Remodel & Renovate

Shake Up Your Style